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Social Security Changes in 2014: What You Need to Know

Millions of Americans rely on Social Security right now for their financial security, and millions more will need Social Security benefits in the years to come. But new changes to Social Security have just taken effect, and it's smart to know how Social Security changes for 2014 could affect you and your benefits.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, goes through the recent Social Security changes for 2014. Dan notes that while the tax rate of 6.2% on employees hasn't changed, the wage base on which that tax is calculated has risen to $117,000. He also goes through the rise in earnings to $1,200 that's necessary to get a quarter of creditable coverage for Social Security purposes. Those younger than full retirement age who still earn wage or salary income will get a break, as the amount of income they can earn without forfeiting their benefits has risen to $15,480 this year. Finally, Dan goes through the average and maximum benefit amounts, noting that the maximum Social Security benefit this year for someone taking benefits at full retirement age has jumped to $2,642 per month, while the average benefit has risen to $1,294.

Get the most you can from Social Security
Social Security plays a key role in your financial security, so knowing everything you can about your benefits is crucial. In our brand-new free report, "Make Social Security Work Harder for You," our retirement experts give their insight on making the key decisions that will help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 12:30 PM, wspaulding wrote:

    Social Security continues to be the biggest Ponzi scheme ever created. I started receiving SS Benefits when I was 62 never believing I would live much past the average life expectancy for a male of 72. Well I have long since passed that and even after I started benefits I went back to work and made some pretty good money for a few years. Because the money I earned after retirement was well in excess of my earnings used to determine my original SS benefits I believed that the earnings in the past would be replaced by the future earnings and a new SS benefit created. Well that provision is in the Ponzi scheme but the earlier years earnings are adjusted for inflation (much higher then the formula used to increase annual benefits) and it seems that the $10,000 I earned that was in the original formula was adjusted to over $60,000 in 2001. And during those years when I returned to the work force I paid FICA taxes that exceeded the first few years of income included in the formula used to create my benefits. There is no justice in our country for the middle class. If you are not born wealthy there is no possible way to grow wealth.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 1:26 PM, jjobean wrote:

    Mr Pauling, past 72 myself and collectind since i'm 62. i think like yourself i've collected a lot more money then i ever put in and am very grateful for it. like yourself i still work and make more only difference that I appreciate what I have and receive and am happy to contribute to the rest of society. you're crying with a loaf of bread under each arm. what more can u possible want our of life? wake up my friend.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 2:11 PM, armyretired wrote:

    As for myself, I am 82 years old and began drawing SS at 62 years. I was told at the SS office that I would lose money if I took it early and I replied that I might alive at age 65. (Boy was I wrong) at any rate I am quite with the SS system and definitely do not consider it a Ponzi scheme.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 2:13 PM, armyretired wrote:

    I might also add that after 20 years I have definitely received much more than I put in>

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 2:14 PM, pitranger wrote:

    I was in the workforce for 40 years. I retired ten years ago at a salary of 55k a year. I paid FICA tax at 7.5 % and my employer also paid 7.5% for me to the government all those years. Having done the math extensively, I can prove that had that money been invested in reasonable risk private investment, returning an average of 5% per year and compounded....I WOULD HAVE OVER 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS! A Ponzi scheme? No. The government stole my money and is doling out cash to me by SS payments that will never repay my "investment" before I die. "Entitlement" my azz.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 2:17 PM, geneforgione wrote:

    Genevieve A Forgione i was denied SS Disabilty for a bad back. At the age of 65, now i just get regular SS well today i,m very bad with sever back pain under DRs care also i also have a pacemaker also under DRs care i am 72 no one wants to hire anyone with these problems i can work at least 3-4 days a week.Can i apply for SSD now .

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 2:52 PM, debra wrote:

    I get disability benefits buts its a very small check hardly enough to go on ,,,, husband works but still we do not have enough to pay our bills with out askig in-laws for their money oh I started out with 105 a momth I am now getting 144 and if it wan,t for having a medical cars I would not be albe to buy my meds at all ,,,,, im a dib and I don, t use insulin like my mom did I have pills but still I need to montor my blood sugar

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 3:09 PM, armyretired wrote:

    When SS started under President Roosevelt, most wage earners received less than 50 cents an hour and as a young person in the workforce I earned $1.00 per hour, in fact I was 45 before I had a job that paid a decent wage.

    Right now I wonder how people would survive today had Roosevelt not brought in SS.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 4:20 PM, stereopticon wrote:

    "I can prove that had that money been invested in reasonable risk private investment, returning an average of 5% per year and compounded....I WOULD HAVE OVER 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS!"

    Of course, taking into account the disastrous Wall Street crash of 2008, you'd more likely have about fifty bucks. I'd never want anyone to gamble on Wall Street with my retirement's safety net.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 4:52 PM, sorryb wrote:

    I am 59 yrs old .I have worked ever since I was 15.When I became ill and had to go on disability and found out how much I would get,the first thing I thought was HIGH WAY ROBBERY.It seems like the gov. has robbed me of my livelyhood I worked so hard for. Use to be able to pay all my bills on time and have money left over.NOT any more. I DON'T even have enough to pay my bills now. Not even any left to buy food.And the goverment wants u to have only 15.00 worth of FS to eat on for a month.This is ROBBERY.So what am I to do?But, MY GOD always makes a way.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 5:14 PM, EdHazzle wrote:

    There are way too many young able bodied drug addicts who never worked a day in their life and never paid a dime in SS taxes who suffer from "mental illness" or schitzofrenia due to years of chronic drug abuse. All SSI recipients under age 55 should be drug tested before they are allowed to get any govt funding.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 5:33 PM, vulture6468 wrote:

    "I can prove that had that money been invested in reasonable risk private investment, returning an average of 5% per year and compounded....I WOULD HAVE OVER 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS!"

    I have done this very math with annual contributions invested in 10 year Treasuries each year, rolled over after 10 years. Using maximum contributions of self and employer, you do not come up anywhere near $1.4M - more in the $500-$600K range.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 6:43 PM, toomuchgas wrote:

    I agree with stereopticon that if you had put the money in mutual fund investments over you lifetime you would do much better than SS. The detractors of private investment always cite a short term period when the stock market went down. Fact is if you invested regularly it doesn't matter the period because there will be good decades making up for the bad ones. The long term return on stocks is about 9% per year. Having done this myself my income from stocks exceeds my SS by a factor of 10.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 7:18 PM, lytec30 wrote:

    im 73 trs old work 32 yrs for state and also work part time and paid into #ss when I sing up for my #ss they adsived me that I did have all the quarters I need but I could only draw 42% because I was getting a state pension,i yes that is my money I paid into for 32years,they said blame ronregan he the one who got that bill passed.I WORKED 32 YEARS PART TIME TO GET A #SS PENISON.AND GOT SCREW.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 7:58 PM, Paul52 wrote:

    All of you that are complaining about getting to much money from SS, if you feel so strongly about this just write a letter to them and tell them to remove you from SS. As far as me.. I have paid in for OVER 40 yrs, I did rec $1247 a month now its been cut to $1100 ! SS IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT ! If a person pays into it , IT IS A paid for benefit ! What a bunch of morons !

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 8:21 PM, desuhu wrote:

    Why would they have cut your benefits from $1247 to $1100? We both have been drawing our SS since age 62 and it's never been cut, but increased a little when we get COLA increases.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 8:32 PM, upsguyp3 wrote:

    I am 47 and worked for the same company for 28 years. I am saving money in different accounts, i.e. 401(k), roth IRA and also have a union pension when I reach the age where I can retire. My question is this--- all these accounts send me at some point at end of fiscal year their status.. Statement of assets, liabilities, income and expenses..Why isn't the SS admin required to do this? Are they using SS income for other government expenses? Are they afraid to show that in reality they take in FAR more money than they pay out? since we pay in to this, we should get a ACCURATE statement of the above, not just what we can expect at what age


  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 9:02 PM, kettlehutskorner wrote:

    Wait a minute here. I am reading about all those people on SS and bringing home between 1100. and 1200.00 a month and they are complaining?? Try living on 689.00 a month SS. Thats right 689.00 and i worked my whole life since i turned 16. Granted i never made more on some jobs than min. wage but the last five years before i took retirement i did make a decent salary.But that dosent count when you add up all the other years when i was making 7.00 a hour .And by the way i worked 45 years before collecting. Savings?? what savings , how can you save anything with that amount.and dont suggest , that i go back to work. No one wants to hire a 68 year old woman. not even Wal mart.

  • Report this Comment On January 04, 2014, at 9:42 PM, bop wrote:

    Social Security is an insurance program, meant to keep you off the streets with a place to live. It is a societal communal agreement, which helps those less fortunate at times as well. It is not a full retirement solution, Pensions, 401k's, family care, and armed service duty all add to care for us all in our later years.

    Your level of wealth cannot exceed in most cases your wealth at your younger years without foregoing spending and enjoying it later. It's just math.

    The thought of contemplating our future before it happens is ennerving, but the ant and the grasshopper is the choice we all have been making throughout history.

    Your lottery tickets are only a dream of delusion.

    Your car won't keep working magically, you have to repair it or throw it away.

    Mutual funds involve active diligence of buy and sale. They went to zero in the 80's, as did the market in 2008-9. Ergo it involves work to make money either as a business, an employer, or an investor.

    People watch quite a bit of TV, which brings little income and now costs rental fees. The fascination with wasting time as leisure was never in the human picture.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 12:29 AM, bilt2last wrote:

    We need to collectively write, email, facebook or whatever every member of the House and Senate, as well as the media and begin a campaign to eliminate the use of the word "entitlement" when referring to Social Security and Medicare. Those payments to those who actually paid into them are "OBLIGATIONS". They took our money and that of our employers and have squandered it on paying for any and everything they chose, and provided benefits to those who have no right to it except as they chose to grant for political gain.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 4:41 AM, tapilado1 wrote:

    Most of us have paid into Social Security our whole working life. The Government is giving our Money away to life time Welfare, in life time Food Stamps, Illegal Alien Aid and Foreign Country Aid. They are also giving our money away in Medicaid. We earned our benefits yet suffer for our Government buying votes with our money by giving it away. If you earn to much from your IRA, 401K, Pensions and any other investment the Government will tax the heck out of your Social Security that they had for the past 45 - 50 years. If anyone should suffer it should be the useless people getting free money at our expense.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 5:42 AM, readytoretireteu wrote:

    Some people here have bad memories! It was during Carter's time that SS changed. Before he did this if one earned a pension and SS the recipient could keep both and not be penalized by SS.

    Then when Clinton was in office, he let more SS be taxed.

    Both are Democrats and they always claim that the Republicans are after seniors money, but only during election time!

    As the population ages I suppose they will finally wake up to the facts that the Dems are agzinst them and for the illegals.

    Carter also let some government workers exempt themselves from SS and enter into a private retirement plan. This was 1979.

    In 1980 NBC or CBS did a 20 year review of this in a Tx municipality that participated in 2000. The retirees who went to a private plan took home more than 2.5times than the ones that did not!!!

    This was in a time when inflation was 13%! Research this and reach your own decision or not if SS is a good deal.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 5:46 AM, irishVermonter wrote:

    Yes SS is good for those drawing it. But it is also a lesson on Democrat bait & switch. When started only use money to pay benfits & surplus was keep seperate & invested in Gocerment bonds, Reason said never go above 2%. Now part of general budget thus no intrest on surplus. Do the math at present rate those under 40 will pay about $65,000 more than will draw. Average wage $44321 Tax 12.4 = $247,311 paid in. Average benfit $1294 = $15,528 year draw about 11.7 year = $ 181,677

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 8:06 AM, crippledncrazy wrote:

    Get a dose of this, worked and paid in all but 1 quarter to receive SS, get a notice every year that tells me I'm entitled to @$830.00 a month in benefits. However because I was only 45 years old when I became totally disabled, and only receive disability retirement from the company that I worked 20+ years for, I can't receive a penny from all the years I paid into SS. I live under the poverty level, only have Medicare for my insurance coverage, however many never worked a day, only laid around and bred like rats,quit school and have continued to live off the working middle class. Most having never paid a dime into SS, but they get SS,SSI, Medicare and Medicaid because they gave up on themselves and blame society for their own short comings makes me sick. I only get my 1 monthly check and others as many as 3 or more and never did $#!&, yea they feel entitled and they been sucking the working class dry since the early 60's. Thanks LBJ same old same old, if you don't buy the vote give em free money and entitlements you'll get their vote.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 9:14 AM, lm1b2 wrote:

    I know what i found out,SS notified Me that i,and My wife's Medicare Medical Ins.and our Medicare prescription Drug plan had gone up even though we had been assured by Obama that Obamacare would not affect Medicare,and now we will be getting less money monthly.Just another lie told by Obama,i wonder if he will apologize to the millions of Retires affected by Obamacare?

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 10:46 AM, screwedbyss wrote:

    In the first place, I would like to know who authorized our SS money as a give away program. It it had been used only for what it was intended, we would all be swimming in money. We contributed to the program, and did what we were supposed to do. Who ever decided that it should be used as a give away program should go to jail and it is not up to us to work extra years, to make up for their crimes of stealing money from us. The money was supposed to be there and would have for everyone, had it not been used for every give away program in the country and for other countries. Also, if you try to sign up for Obama-care, and you are on disability or your wife is too young to retire, you will pay the full amount on Obama-care. In other words, if you or your spouse are not paying income tax, you will be charged the full amount. I tried online yesterday and thought there was some mistake. So, I called the help hotline. The supervisor told me, that because I was on disability, and my wife was too young to retire and had never worked, and neither of us paid any income tax, out of my $1,400 in SS disability I receive each month, I would have to pay the full price of $591 for health coverage for my wife. I get midi-caid, but have to pay the full amount of $591 for her. Half of what I make. Is Obama an Einstein, or what???!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 11:15 AM, judyfitz wrote:

    Well Bill Gates and all the other billionaires and millionaires, when they come of retirement age will and I mean WILL collect their ss checks every month because they paid into ss and are untitled to this money. This I really don't understand. Just out of decency they should give it up.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 11:19 AM, patmessenger wrote:

    Most here seem to forget that social security was not meant to be a retirement system but a supplement to an individual's work over a lifetime. I particularly was unimpressed by pitranger who overpaid 7.5% into the system for all of those years. The rate has been 6.2% matched by the employer for many years. It was never 7.5%. A self-employed individual pays a higher rate. He clearly indicated he was not self-employed. As far as an entitlement, not hardly when one pays into it for 40 or more years. The system was set up from the beginning to underpay the investor. My opinion. Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 11:48 AM, lovemynation wrote:

    Aaahhh, yes, SSA. Once a "locked trust fund" for those who worked, and paid their "dues", to have to help us in our retirement yrs, or should we become disabled, while working. That is what it once was. That was how it was "sold" to the working taxpayers, and those who were retiring. It was supposed to be a guarantee against harder times when we were elderly. Or if we could no longer work, but wasn't retirement age.

    Now, it is something else entirely.

    Now, because our elected couldn't keep their "hands" out of the fund, it was finally raided and depleted of all funds, and has become another part of the "general fund". Not only does it hide how much they have raided from the fund, but it doesn't show how they use it to prop up new agencies, new programs, new depts, as well as whatever else they decided they wanted to use it for. That way, whatever is left over, after the "stipends" are given out, the elected leaders can have the rest of the funds, at their disposal, to dole out to the "entitled ones", or whatever else they wish funded, rewarded, or to put in an infusion of cash.

    According to Sen. Kent Conrad, (D), Wym. the govt OWES the fund, that WE paid into, over $3.5 Trillion and it will NEVER be paid back. These are his words, not mine. Besides, we aren't as important as we once were as citizens, retired or disabled. Today, in our govt, we are seen as "beggars, takers and non-productive", and not seen as a viable investment from our elected leaders. That is why it takes yrs to even make enough on SSA OR SSDA, to make ends meet. I've been disabled for 18 yrs, and still make less than $800 mth. When they "rewards us with COLA's", it isn't much. I never get more than $12 a mth, for an increase. Yet, you can bet that the "elected collector's" see more that even a few thousand.

    Afterall, they ARE MORE ENTITLED TODAY THAN ANY OF US ARE. Just watch or ask them. They certainly had no qualms about using our "locked trust fund for retirement" as they deemed best for their own purposes. Yet, WE must jump through those hoops. Even those who are entitled to ride this system, are able to get it easier than those of us who paid into it. But then, it does garner those votes for offices of power. Which is why there are millions riding this fund, who not only don't deserve to be on the receiving end of it, but should have no rights to it, regardless. If you didn't pay in, you shouldn't be paid from it. But then, we must also remember that when it comes to entitlements, our leaders know where the votes can be gained. And one of the best ways to get votes, are the entitelements and subsidies systems.

    We already know that no one is going to vote for someone that tells them they AREN'T entitled to ride off someone else's work, SSDA or SSA, especially if one never paid into it. No one will vote for a person that tells them that no one OWES THEM a ride through life. And the leaders certainly aren't going to tell the voters, who vote for their "free ride" off the ever filling, magical, overflowing taxpayer funded train, citizens or not. So, out of the generousity of our leaders today, WE are lucky we even see a SSA or SSDA benefit. WE are lucky they haven't cut us off it completely, as we aren't considered to be "productive". And with the new mentality that we are seeing overtake our leadership and country, soon those who are retirement age, those who are disabled or infirm, due to some disablity or disease, or those deemed "undeserving and unproductive" won't even see anything from this fund, regardless of what we were promised.

    Today in govt, the mentality towards us, our SSA or any retirement funds that we have paid into and set aside for our later yrs, or if we became disabled, is different than it was when the fund and the promise was made. Our elected are not only NOT of the same caliber that our past leaders were, but do not have the same regard towards our money, our nation or us. Like the leaders have in DC, and emptied our "locked trust fund" of all funds, and any future funds, so too, have our state and local govts helped themselves to the generous amts of money in our pensions, 401K's, etc that WE put aside. Which is why we are seeing so many file bankruptcy on them and the workers. The money is gone. So is our Soc. Sec. And the only ones that are given any guarantee today, to really collect, and have enough to make ends meet, are our elected leaders. They take care of themselves now, off the top, before any money is doled out to us. And once they decide that we no longer deserve even what we've paid in, we won't even collect a "stipend" from it. There won't be any hoops to jump through, because the leaders will eventually decide that we just aren't worth their money, once it is taken out of OUR paychecks. Those who are deemed more deserving, like the riders and the "entitled few", will be the only ones who will be benefitting then, just like our elected are now.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 2:49 PM, Maureen131313 wrote:

    Can anyone help me with what I thought would be an easy question but can't seem to get a simple answer? I am now 48 & live in NY. Was diagnosed in Apr 2011 with stage IV cancer w/6 mos to live but I refuse to go away :-) I was working full time at the time with med coverage thru employer. Received short term DBL for 3 mos and then long term DBL kicked in. SS deemed me perm disabled w/o a fight and started receiving SS benefits in Oct 2011 along with LT DBL from my employer med ins. SS takes an offset of the LT DBL pmt so I get 2/3rd from SS and 1/3 from LT DBL (until age 70). Over the last 2 yrs SS has given a COLA but only on what they pay me. The DBL carrier won't give a cost of living adj. Who owes the COLA on the 1/3 - DBL or SS? Or am I just screwed? If you have an answer, do you have anything to help me back up your answer to fight them with? THANKS for any help.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 3:46 PM, carmeno wrote:

    desuhu, yeah, sure. In those two years when we got NO increase because the cost of living did not increased, the Medicare premiums went up almost 19% but that was rarely mentioned in the news. Most people on Social Security missed it because they EXCLUDED people already on Social Security but applied it to those just starting (as in the Baby Boomers) who had no idea they were paying higher rates than the people already on Medicare. So it is true that the benefits decrease because if the premiums for Medicare has stayed the same for everyone, the benefit check would be higher for the Baby Boomers. When that happened it took me almost an hour to find the information in the MEDICARE and SOCIAL SECURITY web site and I did research for a living. I guess the increase on Medicare benefits did not qualify for "increase in the cost of living", same as many things that affect senior citizens more than the rest of the population.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 3:54 PM, carmeno wrote:

    This one goes to EdHazzle. Test them? So they can get SSI benefits? My former brother-in-law has been an alcoholic since he was around 15 years old. Guess where he gets income from since before he was 18? What the heck, let me tell you, SSI because he was determined to be an alcoholic and therefore "disabled". He is now about 62 years old, lucky for him he inherited their family home so now he doesn't have to be drunk in the gutters.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 7:04 PM, desert3030 wrote:


    Been retired 2 years and each year run slightly over the max allowed. Now have been asked to return full time for 3 years at a 6 figure plus level each year. No brainer what to do, but I contact SS? Try and stop payments? Don't have an hour to sit on the phone.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 7:41 PM, Jewels wrote:

    Social Security is and always has been a Ponzi Scheme. Just because you are getting something out of it right now does not mean it is any less of a fraud than what Bernie Madloft did. Most of us approaching retirement in the next 10 years will never see ANY of what we have contributed. So to those that are happy...because the rest of us will have to figure out how we will live our "golden" years without any Social Security or pension plans.

  • Report this Comment On January 05, 2014, at 11:15 PM, Jeffkory wrote:

    Oh Yea- Pay those higher ss rates so congress can get richer off OUR money- Just a bunch of CROOKS

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2014, at 7:44 AM, semperfi69 wrote:

    one thing most of us are forgetting about ss,,, 40-50 years ago when we sent in our money it was worth more then today when we with draw it,,, if we would get the same dollars back as we put it we could live much better,,,, so we gave the government a dollar worth a whole lot more then the ones they are giving back to us,,, and had the government not spent the money on wars and such we would all be getting a better return,, it was not locked up in a box as we were told it would be,,,think about what the dollar was worth when you started,,so now think if you got more back then you paid in!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2014, at 8:19 AM, uad wrote:

    Some comments sound as though they come from folks that didn't need a "safety net" as they are doing quite well compared to others.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2014, at 11:34 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    Read all these comments and concluded not many know their... uhh ok, now thats out of the way.

    If you are over 65 right now or have scammed your way to disability payments, or get legit disability, you are lucky snooks. You get to hose your nieces, nephews, children and grandchildren for huge sums that you never put in.

    If you are 45-65 you may yet enter the ranks of the lucky snooks, but better have your back up plan in place, you may lose out.

    IF you are 20-44, you are just hosed by your elders. Suck it up and get to work!

    I still figure the revolution happens about 2030 when the clueless and hosed get the picture....

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2014, at 2:41 PM, anash91 wrote:

    I don't plan on getting one cent from SS because I'm 22. I'm sure my parents will get it, because they are within a decade of retirement, but there is no way that there will be anything left by the time I am in my 40's. Especially with the increasing longevity of humans plus the squandering of SS funds

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2014, at 3:45 AM, 1foolusername wrote:

    I have been on many comment sites as this and they all have one thing in common and that is we are getting screwed by the government or someone.

    On this SS topic alone revolution would be on the agenda of many other countries. But you and I know that this won't happen. Let the other guy sacrifice his life limb and property and fight for me. And then how can you win the battle against the most powerful military in the world. They're taking your pea shooters away and limiting the peas you can have. They can arrest you without any trial on the premonition that you are a terrorist. No one to jail yet for the financial crisis. Even today JPM will pay the 1.7 billion from the share holders of that stock. They get bailed out and given million dollar bonuses for destroying the economy intentionally.

    We sit back and comment on this forum.

    People wake up. Vote for anyone that has no experience for congress. Do it, they might just change the system for the better as the experienced did not.

  • Report this Comment On January 08, 2014, at 10:20 AM, Mwhy wrote:

    Well put 1foolusername...

    "People wake up. Vote for anyone that has no experience for congress. Do it, they might just change the system for the better as the experienced did not."

  • Report this Comment On January 09, 2014, at 12:50 PM, KingOfPizza wrote:

    When SS was started, the average life expectancy was 62. The system was never intended to pay every citizen for 20 years.

    I turn 29 this year. I expect that by the time I am old and shriveled, life expectancy will be 87 and the retirement age will be 82, if SS still exists. I certainly don't expect to see any of that money ever again.

    Imagine if I could add the 6.2% into my 401k and my employer could add their share back as a match. I would be saving double what I'm saving now, and I could retire before I turn 55.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 3:09 AM, foolinak wrote:

    Don't think private investing is a sure thing. I started investing in a major brokerage firm Paine Weber in the late 80s. My investment adviser make millions in Microsoft. He invested in zero coupons at 9 percent. Then sold the bonds he did stocks first disney then then apple after apple dipped to 18 he panicked sold bought cell pro and world com etc. well instead of a couple of million. we ended up with 60k 15 years of investing we lost 300k of our hard earned money. I took me years of hoping before I fired my broker and transferred in all to a balanced fund. I am a new fool investor because I got tired of sitting on cash. Since I have no pension I am lucky the government invested my money in Social Security .

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 1:07 PM, StarM wrote:

    Wow. The lack of basic economic, political and structural knowledge of how Social Security functions is stunning for a Fool comment board.

    There are no easy & pat answers for most of these anecdotal scenarios (real or exaggerated), because everyone's work history is different, each state administers Medicaid differently, medical disabilities vary (as does LTD coverage), state income tax law varies, and so forth.

    Do your own research, people.

    P.S. I'll vote for drug-testing food stamp & SSDI recipients when corporate CEO's whose entities receive tax subsidies and federal grants are drug-tested ....

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 4:50 PM, Libertarian71 wrote:

    Social Security is a legal Ponzi Scheme. And legal Ponzi Schemes are worse than illegal ones; Bernard Madoff did not force you to participate.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 8:56 AM, KombatKarl wrote:

    I just ran the figures based on my work history and assuming 3% raise until I retire, which is realistic at my employer and I plan on staying until I retire or am laid off/fired. I'm only 45, so going 17 years into the future is a big assumption I know. But given what I've already paid, and what I could pay going forward, and assuming the average market return of 9%, I'd have $917k. I'd have to get nearly $3100/month for 30 years just to get to the magical 4% point. I have no idea what my benefit will be. The ssa website says my benefit will be $1500/month at 62 assuming I make my current salary until I retire. That's not going to happen since I get a raise every year. But $3100/month seems unrealistic. The kicker is that once me and my wife are dead, that money's gone. At least if that $917k was MINE as it should be, any unused amount could be left to my kids.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 11:47 AM, cadepend wrote:

    I am so happy to see all your posts! It is very important to participate in the decisions that will be made about social security.

    For those of you who have questions about your own benefits, especially whether you can file a claim I suggest you call SSA RIGHT NOW (800-772-1213) There are limits to the retroactivity of claims, the time period one is covered for social security etc.

    I also urge people to look at the SSA's website, which has lots of information, including that presented in the video.

    I especially want younger workers to look at the pages that show different proposals for changes.

    Many of them are very technical, but here is how to find one I think is important: (United States Social Security)

    Proposals Affecting Trust Fund Solvency

    Proposal dated Dec. 1 2010

    Table B2

    This is from the "Simpson-Bowles" commission and gives approximae future benefits compared to current law if the S-B proposals were to be adopted. It is a chart showing benefits according to your age and expected average earnings in 2010 dolalrs.

    Please also think about this: Even though you might have earned more by investing your income than you receive from paying for social security, has your family benefitted from the programs?

    Did your parents have more to spend as your grew up because they did not support their parents or grandparents?

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 6:59 PM, eehinkle wrote:

    I became disabled at the age of 33 and worked since age 13. SSDI was not enough to cover my medical expenses, housing, food, or car. Thanks to having financially wise parents, they were able to help me literally stay alive. When in this situation suicide comes to mind which is what I think Social Security hopes for secretly. A Canadian told me that if I worked in Canada and became disabled I would have full healthcare and free prescriptions, PLUS I would get a check the same size as my job when I became disabled. Imagine my frustration with this news. I had to fight with the help of an attorney that my parents paid for to get my retirement disability which took over three years! I was granted SSDI on my first request which tells anyone how sick I really was when I claimed disability. I think no one in Congress or the Senate including any President has the right to take money from the funds in Social Security. Doing so is simply criminal!! Again, without my parents I would be dead due to lack of ability to get the medical attention necessary to live and the money to even afford food and housing. I get disgusted when I think of all the people on welfare who have more and more babies to get a larger check FREE from the State and Federal Governments. Especially when they are not drug tested and the addicts sell their food stamps to someone for .50 cents to the dollar to go score more drugs! State Governments need to monitor welfare recipients strictly. However, as most of you know this is only ONE part of a huge problem. My best wishes to everyone and my encouragement to those who feel like giving up..... Don't give up, ask others for help, and please do not commit suicide when you are feeling really screwed!

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2014, at 11:16 AM, harld wrote:

    I retired at 64, have to keep working at 1/2 my usual income to stay under the 15,480.

    I accept what I get because work environment is better. BUT... Turned 65 and they take $104.90 to cover Medicare Part B. I am "very healthy" and was only paying $21/month Obamacare. I think there should be changes for those of us who are still healthy for when we should go on Medicare. I still need to get a private supplemental insurance to cover the 20% Part B doesn't. I can't afford that so I will pay that out of pocket. I believe Medicare is bigger issue than what I receive for SS. Anyone else out there know how to get started on fighting back on this??? I'm ready if we can get something going on twitter facebook whatever it takes to get a following and attention to how many of us Don't Need Medicare at 65.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2015, at 10:02 PM, Hawkins693 wrote:

    I am so disappointed in SSA because why is it that the drug dealers, and people that I know that have NEVER WORKED a day in their lives get shot up and paralyzed from their dirty deeds, and the scheming people that act like they are crazy and go to these clinics, to get the medicine that they sell, because they have to prove to SS that they are crazy. These are the BUMS that we have to pay for , But when it is time for us to get what we have worked for,after getting our Backs messed up and arthritis in our joints SSA gives us a hard time, and little money, it's a damned shame they way they treat the working people!

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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